Living in a consumer culture is pretty amazing. We have the strength of international industry and commerce allowing us to do a wide range of jobs while enjoying the benefit of agriculture and machinery half a world away.
We don't need to farm or sew our own clothes in order to survive a cold winter. We don't need to rely on our immediate neighbours to repair our vehicles or get some bread. We're pretty lucky.
The problem with this incredible culture, however, is that we get really used to it. The reason the consumer culture works is because it promotes constant economic movement – and that means you spending your money on things. In order to combat that, save yourself a little cash, and learn to get uncomfortable.
What temperature do you keep your house at? Are you comfortable in your own home? Now that we're approaching summer, if you have a central air conditioner, it may be tempting to set your home to a “comfortable” temperature. How much money would you save, however, if you turned the AC off for a summer? It certainly isn't the most comfortable option, but it could save you a ton of cash. Open the windows and embrace the heat.
When winter comes back around, try lowering your normal temperature by two or three degrees. You shouldn't be able to walk around in your home in shorts and a t-shirt if it is the middle of winter. It doesn't cost anything to put on a sweater or lug a blanket around the house. Again, it is not comfortable – but it would save you money.
What financial mistakes do you make in order to be comfortable? Do you carry cash around with you every day “just in case”? Do you notice that you regularly have to refill that wallet cash because it got spent here or there.
Spending cash is super easy when you have it accessible – making the decision to purchase something on credit should be more difficult choice to make. For me, I know that if I have cash lying around, I'll find a way to spend it here or there.
What about your bank account? Do you have high bank fees that you're paying just because the bank you always have gone there? Shop around, find a new bank, and transfer your balances. That's not something super easy to do, but you could save yourself a lot of money by forcing yourself out of your comfort zone.
I see so many people that just want everything to stay the same, day in and day out. It costs them a ton of money, usually indirectly, because it hampers their ability to earn more money or take advantage of limited time offers. They're afraid of change, so they're not willing to do what it takes in order to get financially ahead.
At your work place, for example, you are probably pretty comfortable in your day to day role. I'm sure you've thought about career advancement, assuming that it will come to you when you're ready for it to happen. In reality, this is not how it works.
People get ahead by being proactive and expanding beyond their comfort zone. It may mean doing a completely different role, or it may mean going to a different company. If you really want to earn money, you'll consider moving to a new city, or province, or country. That is how you take advantage of opportunities, by widening what you are willing to do.
What comforts are you holding on to in your daily life that are holding you back financially?